Indie Corner: File Organizing for the Indie Author


Vision 68


Indie Corner:

File Organizing for the Indie Author


J.A. Marlow


Copyright © 2012, J.A. Marlow, All Rights Reserved



As publishers of their own work, indie authors should have systems set up on the back-end to aid their workflow. This can take many forms, such as financial, sales tracking, distribution, production scheduling, and other things. In this article we tackle file organization.


Why is this needed? If the various parts of a published book is scattered across the hard drive, after a few projects into the publishing game finding files, updating, or changing can become a nightmare. Starting off organized is a good way to head off this problem.


Every author will be different in how they organize their hard drive. What is outlined below may not work for you, but can give you ideas on how to approach this issue. Use it as a jumping-off place to create your own method.


First decision to make is if the manuscript files and the ebook/book files will be stored in the same area. For simplicity's sake, I keep them together, but organized in a way that they are all clearly marked.


For instance, on the hard drive, I have a "My Writing" folder. Under that main folder is a folder for each writing project, such as "Story A" and "Story B." If you write in series, your folder organization may look like:

My Writing

Story A

Story B

Series 1

Story C

Story D


You can expand the organization if you write in different 'universes,' different pennames, or genres. For instance, a writer of 'sweet' and 'steamy' may want to keep those separate. In that case a good over-all organizing folder would be "Romance" but with two different pennames listed below it. On the other end, some genres go well together under the same penname, and so the penname folder becomes the over-all organizing folder, with the genres under it. For Instance:


My Writing

Penname 1


Story A


Story B


Penname 2

Story C

Story D

Penname 3

Story E

Story F



The idea is to make it easy to navigate to each project in a manner that makes sense to you. Each author will be different with this, all depending on how widely across genres they write, how many pennames they use, and/or how many series they write.


Under the individual project files will come a different organization. For a file that combines research, manuscripts, as well as the publishing files, we'll need additional organization. There may be a file for the research, with another for the manuscript versions (first draft, revision drafts, and any other steps needed). Always make sure the finished publishable manuscript is clearly marked. There has been nightmare tales told of accidentally publishing the wrong revision!


A way to do this may be to keep the final manuscript file on the top level, such as the following:


Story A

Manuscripts (folder)

Manuscript Finished Draft.doc (file)

Research (folder)


Now to organize the files needed for the publishing side of the Indie author. Typically this will consist of three folders, although more could be added later for other publishing needs of the project. The first new folder is for the cover art and any art for the interior pages. The second folder is for the ebook files, with the third for the POD files. Possible future additions may be audio books or apps. The new folder project format would look like this:


Story A

Cover (folder)

(main editable cover file, pre-sized .jpgs for use across various platforms, banners)

Ebook Files (folder)

(all formats used across various platforms such as .Epub, .Mobi, .PDF, .Doc and others)

Manuscripts (folder)

(First draft, revisions drafts, character sketches, and other related writing)

Manuscript Finished Draft.doc

(Final draft publish-ready version)

POD Files (folder)

Research (folder)


Keeping all the files for each story project together and organized will help keep the business side of indie publishing manageable. The great thing about Indie publishing is that changes can be made at any point the author wants. New improved cover? No problem. Update a typo or the ebook interior files? The files are right there. Want to update the interior file of the POD? You know right where to go.


Having a file organization plan saves time and frustration, allowing you to always find what you want in a familiar consistent place, and then get on to what you want to do more of: To write.